Photo of borage flowers
Borage is good for helping to strengthen the adrenal glands of those fatigued by long-term stress.

Herbal relief: Mind & emotions

22 October, 2014

Modern life can be stressful and that stress can take its toll on our physical and emotional well being.

Stress, left unaddressed, can result in symptoms like anxiety, sleeplessness, headaches or stomach pains. It can even take its toll on the health of your skin and hair.

There are many herbs can help us to cope better with stress and relieve symptoms of depression, exhaustion, and tension. But to bring about lasting benefits, we must change our lifestyles and use remedies to support us during that change.

If you experience severe or long-standing emotional complaints make sure you speak to a qualified practitioner for professional help. This chart is not comprehensive, but it does contain the key herbs for emotional and mental well-being.

Oats (Avena sativa)

An excellent tonic for the nervous system, oats help to improve nervousness, exhaustion anxiety, and decrease stress. Eat as porridge every morning or use the tincture in combination with other appropriate herbs.

St John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum)

Proven to relieve the symptoms of mild to moderate depression, and also helpful in cases of SAD, anxiety, and exhaustion. Take as an infusion, tincture, or capsules. Not to be used in conjunction with any other medication without medical advice.

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)

An uplifting antidepressant and calming remedy. It lifts the spirits and calms anxiety, nervousness, and panic attacks. Also good for treating insomnia and headaches. This very safe, pleasant-tasting herb is suitable for everyone. Best taken as an infusion or tincture.

Vervain (Verbena officinalis)

A tonic herb that is strengthening for the nervous system and useful for the relief of tension headaches, depression, exhaustion, and stress. Combines well with lemon balm and skullcap. Take as an infusion or as tincture.

Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)

An important nervine tonic with antispasmodic action that has mild sedative qualities. Useful in the treatment of stress, anxiety, overwork, migraine, and following an emotional shock. Combines well with lemon balm and chamomile. Use as an infusion or tincture.

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

With its calming and sedative properties, lavender is useful in the treatment of restlessness, shock, and stress. Drink as an infusion combined with lemon balm to relieve tension headaches. Use the essential oil to relieve insomnia.

Passionflower (Passiflora incarnate)

A mild sedative herb that is excellent in the treatment of sleeplessness and anxiety. Combines well with chamomile to make an infusion for the relief of insomnia.

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)

A herb from the Ayurvedic tradition that is known as an adaptogen – helping the body to cope with the effects of long-term stress. Helps to restore energy and vitality to those suffering from exhaustion. Best taken as a tincture or powder.

Damiana (Turnera diffusa)

An effective antidepressant herb that helps to restore an enthusiasm and vitality for life. Use to relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression. Take as an infusion or tinctures combined with other appropriate herbs such as lemon balm.

Borage (Borago officinalis)

The phrase “borage for courage” indicates its use in strengthening the adrenal glands of those fatigued by long-term stress. Used for stress, depression, and exhaustion, but only for short periods of time and only under the advice of a qualified herbalist.